Knee-jerk reaction: How to ruin a point


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The Macalope’s going to be honest with you: He’s simply run out of ways to introduce these “Apple is a religion” pieces. He’s only one mythical beast.

Writing for the Guardian, John Naughton explains ”Why Apple is the Toyota of hi-tech.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Evert Jan Boon.)

It’s a bit of an odd comparison, but his reasoning isn’t bad. Apple churns out a ton of product with remarkable efficiency. It does, however, manage to do so without the need for recalls, but the point about scale is sound enough. It’s the rest that’ll have you wondering if you’ll ever be able to love again.

Three weeks from now, a strange phenomenon may be observed on British high streets and in upmarket shopping arcades.



Long lines of youngish people will form orderly queues in the vicinity of a particular store. They will be diversely attired, though some elements of consistency may be discerned. The males, for example, will mostly wear skinny trousers and jeans of the type that make one wonder if their owners suffer from rickets. The females will be more colourfully clothed, and some will tote leather shoulder bags that have been expensively distressed.

Young people are idiots! They deserve our mockery. Also, old people don’t buy Apple stuff. They use rotary phones and pocket watches. Everyone knows this.

The use of “males” and “females” may sound strange here but you should know that Naughton has apparently only recently arrived to this planet and is still learning our laughably outdated concept of sexual dimorphism.

Who are these people? ... They are, of course, members of the church of Apple...

Fascinating! Surely this case that Apple is a religion has never been made before. How very clever of you to notice. Please continue.

The church has announced the Coming of the Watch.

Does Naughton think he just came up with this? How does one pitch this piece to an editor?

Naughton: “I have a minor point about Apple’s manufacturing prowess that I want to dress up with some religious claptrap.”

Editor: “You had me at ‘claptrap.’”

The normally judicious New York Times columnist Nick Bilton got into hot water for daring to ask if wearable computers (which, after all, is what smartwatches are) could cause health problems.

Uh, no. What Bilton got into trouble for was saying that we can easily conclude that wearables cause cancer from studies that are inconclusive. But that’s some serious reductionism. You’re a regular Hank Pym.

...what is really interesting about Apple is not just that it can design great products, but that it can actually manufacture the things in huge volumes, and deliver them to market on time.

It is! It’s just a shame you had to dilute this point by resorting to tired clichés about the company’s customers.

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